Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a serious problem plaguing families all over the world. Although education on this subject has increased awareness and offers the ability to rehabilitate yourself, it’s important to realize that addiction isn’t something that will go away overnight and you have to be prepared to stay strong through the entirety of your battle. Part of this strength can come from understanding what you’ll be going up against and this can be broken down into five steps or stages. Learning the stages and what to expect as each one takes part in your life can make the transition process much easier. Knowing what’s coming next and how you might react to it and what kind of help it will be in the long run are all advantages of preparing yourself in this way.
The earliest possible step in the chain of addiction recovery begins with awareness. This doesn’t always mean being proactive about the situation, but at least you will begin to recognize that there is a problem and might see what it is doing to you and those around you. You could still be very much involved in drugs or alcohol at this time, but you know that what you’re doing is hurting you and at least some part of you wants it to end. The CRC Health Group explains:
Although the addict is still engaging in addictive behaviors and hasn’t made any measurable progress toward recovery, this first stage is critical in paving the way for the rest of the recovery process.
This opens doors and gives you the ability to ask for help and reach out to those around you when you’re ready to do so. This awareness of what you’re doing might actually help you cut back some as well and begin the recovery process without even realizing it.
After you’ve realized that there is in fact a problem with what you’re doing you can start looking into recovery options. These can range from rehabilitation centers to family meetings or therapy sessions, depending on how strong your addiction is and what you’re being rehabilitated from. This might not always be a clear cut part of the process as it’s early and you might slip a little bit. Taking a few steps backwards doesn’t mean you should start all over but plow forward with more fervor than before.
When you’ve finally broken down the available options and you can decide which route you will take to seek treatment. Your doctor might be able to make a suitable suggestion regarding what kind of facility would best suit your problem areas and this can be a remarkable asset, because when you’re struggling with addiction, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Choosing your method of rehabilitation requires some diligent soul searching and research on your addiction. You might find that a simple outpatient clinic that allows you to come in for therapy sessions and offers ongoing support will be enough, while others could prefer inpatient care, which would require you to live at the treatment center you choose. Marinelli Aribon of Psych Central writes:
Programs also can be outpatient, where patients are not required to stay inside the facility for a specific period of time. Inpatient care often is suggested for those who are in a severe stage of alcoholism.
Inpatient care is great if you really need to get yourself out of a certain environment and limit your contact with possible triggers that could cause a relapse. It can help to give you the support and structure that you need to get through this process successfully. There are different lengths of programs for inpatient care, some of which lead into outpatient care, all of which will require some form of long term maintenance.
The early recovery process begins as your rehabilitation starts to transform your addiction into something manageable. It may even be the first moments of true freedom you feel from the drug since you started using, and this can sometimes be viewed as being completely cured. It’s important during this time to remember that there might be some ups and downs and although most days might leave you feeling wonderful, there will still be times you’ll crave what you used to have. The National Institute On Drug Abuse advises:
Individuals pass through the stages at their own pace, the stages are overlapping rather than discreet, and individuals may slip back at points and need to rework issues from previous stages.
It’s important to focus on the endpoint, as well as your day to day feelings for this reason. It’s no good to set up false expectations of how quickly you’ll overcome your dependence for a certain drug or alcohol if the failure to meet those expectations might cause you to relapse and undo all of your progress.
Finally, as mentioned throughout this article, it’s important to understand that this isn’t something that will end when you leave the facility that you’re utilizing. You could come out feeling on top of the world and be perfectly capable of never looking back to your old habits again, but you might also have weak moments where you’re not feeling so good and the thought of reconciling with past tendencies seems like a great idea. It’s okay to have these thoughts, and there may even be a time when you act on them. This is what the long term maintenance programs are for, and most treatment centers offer them as part of their care. This can give you access to therapy sessions, further inpatient care or detoxification if necessary, as well as having contact with somebody on a regular basis that can be an ear to talk to in times of trouble. You might be part of a program that reaches out to you and contacts you on a weekly or monthly basis, or you might find you need more care and have daily conversations with somebody regarding your ongoing success. Everybody’s recovery process is going to be different, even the maintenance portion.